How to Generate Awesome Leads at the Web Summit
Most startups go to the Web Summit looking for one of two things: investment or customers. In our case (eventfuel.io) we were looking to find new potential customers. We worked hard on prepping for the Web Summit and it worked, we generated lots of quality leads. The thing is… we could have prepped better.
Most of our leads came from having a booth and networking from people that approached the booth. Which we didn’t prepare for since we thought the booth wouldn’t have as much success as it did.
This post is about our experience getting leads at the Web Summit and what we learnt from it.
This is a fundamental part of your success. If you want to have great results and get quality leads you need to know who you want to meet.
Over the last four years our optimal customer profile has changed a few times but this year it has really become clear to us who we are looking for. This really helped us in finding people who we wanted to approach at this event.
We did this by downloading the attendee list that was available on the Web Summit’s website. Then we went through it, finding people in the roles at companies that we thought would be a good fit. After having the names, role and companies it was just a matter of doing a bit of LinkedIn magic to find their contact details.
Once we had their contact details, we emailed them with the aim to schedule a meeting. We tried to be original and give something back, in the form of a guide to Lisbon. This was our attempt to be different and stand out from the crowd.
Get a booth
If you have the money to invest in a booth for your startup, do that. We had a great time talking to hundreds of people that were genuinely interested in our product and we now have dozens of new quality leads.
Going in we didn’t have big expectations for the booth, because we sell mostly to big companies and usually they don’t go around walking on booths (we thought). Well, we were wrong. We were approached by multiple people from Fortune 500 companies and other big companies.
We are still to see the exact results, but the cost of the booth can easily be recouped if you have a high lifetime value of your clients and you get a few new customers in a single day.
Forget the talks
Unless a talk seems very important to your business or industry just skip them. If your target for the Web Summit is getting clients, then just focus on that.
Even with 4 team members in the event (as we were) it’s hard to talk to everyone we wanted in the 3 days.
Most talks are interesting, but won’t change your business in any fundamental way. They are mostly going to be available for viewing at a later date online anyway.
This is something we didn’t all agree was important before the event, but it ended up yielding great results for us. Aim to talk to companies that might be a good fit for your product or good potential partnerships. Then just go talk to them! Most companies will have sales or marketing people that are very welcoming and want to talk to you. If nothing else, they’ll probably refer to the person you need to talk to in their company.
You can get great leads from doing this. We definitely did.
Go to the satellite events
These events are great to meet people. Go to as many as you can, because networking at the Web Summit itself is very hard. These satellite events are more intimate and much smaller, you’ll have the opportunity to talk to CEO’s and other top executives that usually are hard to reach.
Use these opportunities to talk to them as a person, don’t just pitch to them. It’s much effective to start a conversation and then try to fit your pitch into that conversation. It will be much more natural and the person you’re talking to will trust you more than if you just spew a pitch.
This can be particularly hard if you just had a day at your booth and your brain has been training all day to just pitch. For a person who isn’t in that same mindset, this can be very off-putting.
What we could have done better
Although we contacted a lot of people to book meetings during the Web Summit, a lot of them didn’t reply until after the event. This can be due to a spike in emails by others doing email blasts. To fix this we could have sent these emails earlier in order to avoid getting lost in the noise.
We could have used our time more effectively. The first day was a bit overwhelming and we lost a lot of time wandering around. Don’t do the same mistake, have a plan to use all the time you’re inside the venue and make sure you’re efficient, because 3 days go by very fast.
We also could have talked to more people. Looking back there are some good spots to meet people inside the venue and start a conversation. Look for people who are in a queue (maybe not the bathroom queue), talk to people browsing the booths (they usually aren’t in a rush to go to a talk), talk to people who are outside smoking or just chilling, talk to people while leaving they venue (you’re all walking in the same direction for 5 minutes).
Like I said before it’s hard to network in the Web Summit venue, but surely not impossible.
Overall, if your goal is to find customers, you should break down that goal. Figure out who you need to talk to and go for it. Don’t loose any time. Try to learn from what we did and from our mistakes. Next year we’ll be there again and with a much stronger plan.
See you at Web Summit 2017!